Italians Do It Better (label)
16 July 2021 (released)
16 July 2021
Accidents will happen and when accidents do happen they can curtail and hinder, however, they can also kickstart the dormant self and enact a process of recalibration. In the case of Maltese artist JOON (aka Yasmin Kuymizakis) a car-crash (literally and romantically) was to provide instrumental (in more ways than one) in drawing lines in the sand, erasing the worthlessness of the past and heading forwards and upwards towards a prosperous present. What doesn’t kill you …
Debut album, ‘Dream Again’, (exec-produced by Jonny Jewel) is a Now-Pop platter, an 80s-echo flexed collection of twelve pop-gospels re-filtered through to post-millennial moods. Like the best of pop’s properties its effervescent surface obscures the efferent underbelly, you must persist, persevere and prevail to feel the benefits of the stings in the tale.
Melodically as sharp as Swedish off-beat-balls The Knife/Fever Ray, methodically as blunt as Princess Superstar and ethereally as enigmatic as Gwenno it’s an album of primal dreaming, wish fulfilment and universal star-gazing. Pointing and shining a light onto the black (w)hole.
‘E.T’ kicks off with a telescopic treatise beyond the stars which sees JOON playing call and response with herself. Searching outwards, lurching inwards, perceiver to receiver, contact made. Message understood.
‘Worse Things’ has a pathos-riddled kinship with synthpop-greats like China Crisis and OMD: Joon states and restates the soothing reassurances of ‘there’s worse things than feeling lonely’. Alienation, isolation and creative speculation acting as the Mother of reinvention.
In 1982 Laurie Anderson released techno-sermon, ‘O Superman’, a song that still retains the capacity for aural, choral and neural ‘future-shock’. JOON’s reimagining on ‘Home’ adeptly adopts and adapts the electro-pulsating thrum-beat and retransmits its otherworldly resonance.
‘Orqod' is sung in native tongue Maltese with its translation meaning 'sleep'. It’s a celestial tale of star crossed lovers uniting in their dreams and like the aforementioned Gwenno (who sings in Cornish and Welsh), the incomprehensibility of the lyrics only enhances the sense of mystery, intrigue and bewilderment. Their seeming gibberish an preternatural, outre-cultural delight.
The filmic diptych ‘I.You’ and ‘Me and my sea’ both expertly deploy the mystery and magic of a 1970s science-fiction saga, dissonant primitive sounds of profound surrounds, evoking a sense of when the future (as an idea, both immanent and imminent) seemed filled with hesitant promise and anxious reticence.
A bit like now.